Sunday, October 25, 2015
Capitalism beats regulation
Capitalism started running before regulation could get its boots on
Stepping into the furor over eye-popping price spikes for old generic medicines, a maker of compounded drugs will begin selling $1 doses of Daraprim, whose price recently was jacked up to $750 per pill by Turing Pharmaceuticals.
San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc., which mixes approved drug ingredients to fill individual patient prescriptions, said Thursday it will supply capsules containing Daraprim's active ingredients, pyrimethamine and leucovorin, for $99 for a 100-capsule bottle - or $1 per capsule.
The move to provide cheap alternatives to Daraprim is an attack on Turing CEO Martin Shkreli, who immediately rose the price of the drug by 5,000 per cent after his company acquired it last month.
The 3 1/2-year-old drug compounding firm also plans to start making inexpensive versions of other generic drugs whose prices have skyrocketed, Chief Executive Mark Baum told The Associated Press.
The high price of prescription medicines in the U.S. — from drugs for cancer and rare diseases that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year down to once-cheap generic drugs now costing many times their old price — has become a hot issue in the 2016 presidential race.
News that Turing, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and other drugmakers have bought rights to old, cheap medicines that are the only treatment for serious diseases and then hiked prices severalfold has angered patients.
It's triggered government investigations, politicians' proposals to fight 'price gouging,' heavy media scrutiny and a big slump in biotech stock prices.
Imprimis, which primarily makes compounded drugs to treat cataracts and urological conditions, will work with health insurers and prescription benefit managers in each state to make its new capsules and other compounded generic medicines widely available, Baum said.
'We're geared up. We're ready to go as soon as the orders come in,' he said.
Compounded drugs are typically made to fill a doctor's prescription for an individual patient, sometimes because the mass-produced version is in short supply or completely unavailable and sometimes to allow for customized formulations or dosages.
Compounders don't need Food and Drug Administration approval to do that, unlike drugmakers making huge batches of drugs on complex production lines.
Baum said Imprimis will produce its pyrimethamine/leucovorin capsules, using bulk ingredients from manufacturing plants approved by the FDA, at its own facilities in Allen, Texas; Folcroft, Pennsylvania; Irvine, California, and Randolph, New Jersey.
Another Picture Gallery now up
I have picked out what I think are the best pictures off my blogs from the months of July to December last year. There are some good cartoons among them that should not be missed.
You can access them HERE or HERE
Clinton, O’Malley Say Americans Are Their Enemies
The Leftist hatred of ordinary people is never far beneath the surface
In the days since last week’s debate between candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, some commentators have suggested that Americans have seen enough, that no additional Democrat debates are necessary. In one respect, those commentators are right. In just a few seconds during the debate, the two candidates who harbor the most extreme views on guns showed why they shouldn’t be entrusted with our country’s highest elected office.
It happened when the candidates were asked, “which enemy are you most proud of?”
Of the five candidates onstage, the only supporter of the right to arms, former U.S. senator and Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb—who had already answered a question about gun control by saying that people have the right to defend themselves—said that the enemy he was most proud to have had was the one who wounded him with a grenade during the Vietnam War. Webb didn’t elaborate, but he was referring to an occasion on which, as a Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant, he led an attack against a communist bunker system, an action for which he was awarded the Navy Cross “for extraordinary heroism.”
However, the other four candidates—gun control supporters one and all—reflexively associated the word “enemy” not with America’s overseas adversaries, but with other Americans.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee tempered their answers, at least, Sanders saying only that “Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry . . . do not like me,” Chafee saying that the “the coal lobby” is a group he’s “at odds with.”
By stark contrast, however, Hillary Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, far and away the most extreme gun control supporters running for president, showed no such restraint. O’Malley said his enemy is the five million member “National Rifle Association.” Clinton went further, naming not only “the NRA,” but also the health insurance companies, the drug companies, Republicans, and only one group of people who are not Americans, “the Iranians.”
How things have changed. In 2004, during the keynote speech at the Democratic Party National Convention, then-Illinois state senator Barack Obama said, albeit with questionable sincerity, “We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.” In 2007, presidential candidate Obama claimed that he wanted to unify the country and break it out of what he called “ideological gridlock.”
Today, tempted with the opportunity to indulge herself in the deadly sin of hate before a national TV audience, the leading candidate for the same party’s presidential nomination did so without hesitation or remorse. She gleefully said that she considers tens of millions of Americans to be the “enemy.” She equated the NRA, American business interests, and Republicans with those whose signature chant is “Death to America.” And the party faithful in the debate hall cheered her with the same enthusiasm Obama’s “one America” speech received 11 years ago.
It was an ugly moment, but it shouldn’t define the character of our political disputes going forward. In deciding to whom to entrust the presidency of the United States between now and Election Day 2016, all Americans, regardless of viewpoint, should hold candidates to a standard higher than what Hillary Clinton appears capable of delivering.
Hillary's dishonesty never stops
Among the many issues standing between Hillary Clinton and the White House is what various media outlets have delicately labeled a “credibility problem.” Politico was more blunt in an August 27 article, asking, “Can Hillary overcome the ‘liar’ factor?” That piece went on to cite a Quinnipiac University poll, in which 61% of respondents indicated they did not believe Hillary was honest and trustworthy. Worse, when voters were asked the first word that came to mind about Clinton, the top three replies were (in order of popularity) “liar,” “dishonest,” and “untrustworthy.” According to the article, “Overall, more than a third of poll respondents said their first thought about Clinton was some version of: She’s a liar. … [T]he striking reality is that, for Clinton, a lack of trust is the first thing many think of.”
Count us in on that.
Given that nothing characterizes Hillary Clinton in the American mind more than dishonesty, however, we would have thought that she could at least come up with something more original than the thoroughly discredited claim that “[f]orty percent of guns are sold at gun shows, online sales.” This is one of the main talking points to support closing the equally mythic “gun show loophole” through “universal” background checks.
The “40%” hogwash is of course legendary amongst gun control advocates, but it is also becoming an almost mandatory mantra for gun control supporters. None other than President Obama himself was called on it not once, but twice, by the same media fact-checker at the Washington Post. As is so often the case, however, the president’s followers and partisans immediately took up the argument, as if hoping the volume and repetition of their lies would obliterate the truth.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) took a turn in May. In September, former Maryland governor and current Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley joined the chorus when laying out his own expansive antigun platform. And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) continues to make the claim on his website (although he hedges slightly with the phrase “up to 40 percent”).
So Hillary’s adoption of the lie, if not inevitable, at least was not surprising. What is disappointing, however, is that even after the claim has been repeatedly debunked by “fact-checkers” within the antigun media, the worst the Washington Post could muster for Hillary last week is three out of four “Pinocchios.” “By any reasonable measure,” fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “Clinton’s claim that 40 percent of guns are sold at gun shows or over the Internet – and thus evade background checks through a loophole – does not stand up to scrutiny.”
On-the-ground experience also illustrates how off the mark research estimates can prove in real world settings. When Colorado expanded its background check system to cover private transfers in 2013, the 40% claim was the baseline used by officials to estimate that an additional 420,000 annual checks would be conducted as a result of the expansion. However, in the first year of implementation, only 13,600 such checks were required, amounting to merely 4% of the statewide total. While some margin of error is usual in research estimation, we generally view being off by a magnitude of 10 to have missed the mark entirely.
Putin Forces Obama to Capitulate on Syria
By MIKE WHITNEY, a contributor to "Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion"
The Russian-led military coalition is badly beating Washington’s proxies in Syria which is why John Kerry is calling for a “Time Out”.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for an emergency summit later in the week so that leaders from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan could discuss ways to avoid the “total destruction” of Syria. According to Kerry, “Everybody, including the Russians and the Iranians, have said there is no military solution, so we need to make an effort to find a political solution. This is a human catastrophe that now threatens the integrity of a whole group of countries around the region,” Kerry added.
Of course, it was never a “catastrophe” when the terrorists were destroying cities and villages across the country, uprooting half the population and transforming the once-unified and secure nation into an anarchic failed state. It only became a catastrophe when Vladimir Putin synchronized the Russian bombing campaign with allied forces on the ground who started wiping out hundreds of US-backed militants and recapturing critical cities across Western corridor. Now that the Russian airforce is pounding the living daylights out of jihadi ammo dumps, weapons depots and rebel strongholds, and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is tightening their grip on Aleppo, and Hezbollah is inflicting heavy casualties on Jabhat al Nusra militants and other Al Qaida-linked vermin; Kerry’s decided it’s a catastrophe. Now that the momentum of the war has shifted in favor of Syrian president Bashar al Assad, Kerry wants a “Time out”.
Keep in mind, that Putin worked tirelessly throughout the summer months to try to bring the warring parties together (including Assad’s political opposition) to see if deal could be worked out to stabilize Syria and fight ISIS. But Washington wanted no part of any Russian-led coalition. Having exhausted all the possibilities for resolving the conflict through a broader consensus, Putin decided to get directly involved by committing the Russian airforce to lead the fight against the Sunni extremists and other anti-government forces that have been tearing the country apart and paving the way for Al Qaida-linked forces to take control of the Capital. Putin’s intervention stopped the emergence of a terrorist Caliphate in Damascus. He turned the tide in the four year-long war, and delivered a body-blow to Washington’s malign strategy. Now he’s going to finish the job.
Putin is not gullible enough to fall for Kerry’s stalling tactic. He’s going to kill or capture as many of the terrorists as possible and he’s not going to let Uncle Sam get in the way.
These terrorists–over 2,000 of who are from Chechnya–pose an existential threat to Russia, as does the US plan to use Islamic extremists to advance their foreign policy objectives. Putin takes the threat seriously. He knows that if Washington’s strategy succeeds in Syria, it will be used in Iran and then again in Russia. That’s why he’s decided to dump tons of money and resources into the project. That’s why his Generals have worked out all the details and come up with a rock-solid strategy for annihilating this clatter of juvenile delinquents and for restoring Syria’s sovereign borders. And that’s why he’s not going to be waved-away by the likes of mealy-mouth John Kerry. Putin is going to see this thing through to the bitter end. He’s not going to stop for anyone or anything. Winning in Syria is a matter of national security, Russia’s national security.....
The entire US political establishment supports the removal of Assad and the breaking up of Syria. Kerry’s sudden appeal for dialogue does not represent a fundamental change in the strategy. It’s merely an attempt to buy some time for US-backed mercenaries who are feeling the full-brunt of the Russia’s bombing campaign. Putin would be well-advised to ignore Kerry’s braying and continue to prosecute his war on terror until the job is done.
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Posted by JR at 1:45 AM